The CBO is doing its best to score the Baucus Health Care Concepts (it’s not a Bill), but it really is an exercise in hypothesis and speculation, and not only because there is no actual legislation.
The main problem is that the Baucus Concepts make assumptions which the CBO recognizes are unlikely to occur, but which the CBO must follow nonetheless in its scoring. And those phony Baucus assumptions go to the heart of the game played to make the Baucus Concepts deficit neutral over two decades.
Just one example is that the Baucus Concepts assume that there will be reductions in payments to doctors (yippee, patients) even though that never has happened (at page 12 of the Letter):
These projections assume that the proposals are enacted and remain unchanged throughout the next two decades, which is often not the case for major legislation. For example, the sustainable growth rate (SGR) mechanism governing Medicare’s payments to physicians has frequently been modified (either through legislation or administrative action) to avoid reductions in those payments.
The Baucus Concepts are premised on substantial cuts in payments to health care providers and hospitals, but that is a joke which simply is a backdoor proxy for rationing. More people chasing fewer services with no ability to price shop equals Canada and Britain.
There is plenty else wrong with the Baucus Concepts, but it really doesn’t matter because these are just talking points geared towards a best case financial scenario. This best case financial scenario, however, is politically unacceptable to liberals because there is no public option, so the final bill will look nothing like the Baucus Concepts.
The numbers will not get any better once the liberal Democrats actually formulate a final bill, which is why the final bill will not be released in enough time for proper analysis and input from the public to their Representatives and Senators.
The Baucus Concepts, in one sense, are as good as it gets financially, but the reality is that the final bill rushed through in the manner of the stimulus plan will be as bad as it gets.